A few weeks ago, I was pretty convinced that the Western Conference playoff race was over. Sure, Chivas USA were lurking around, and Colorado had some pieces in place, but neither really seemed threatening.
LA, meanwhile, were heating up, and Vancouver seemed rock-solid despite overhauling their roster.
Fast forward to this week. The 'Caps have lost two in a row, and are just 3-6-3 in their last 12. They're right there with the Galaxy on 37 points, and should be safe, but ... here come FC Dallas.
They've been a new team since David Ferreira has returned to fitness, and the reigning MLS Player of the Week just so happened to eviscerate the Whitecaps last Wednesday in a 2-0 win at BC Place. Brek Shea has come to life for club and country, while Fabián Castillo has started to look the part of a Designated Player thanks largely to the space Ferreira has created for him in attack.
They've just been missing one piece: center forward Blas Pérez. The big Panamanian was one of the stars of the early-going this year, but has missed much of the last several months with both injuries and personal tragedy when his father passed away.
It's been a long road back. Which probably made this tweet that much more satisfying:
CORRECTION: D.C. United has not yet clinched Carolina Challenge Cup championship. I apologize for the confusion. #MLS— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012